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Polish ombudsman apologises for Holocaust comments

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 22.06.2017 10:15
The Polish human rights ombudsman has apologised for saying that the Polish nation “participated in the Holocaust”.
The entrance to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/C.Puisney/CC BY-SA 3.0The entrance to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/C.Puisney/CC BY-SA 3.0

In a recent debate on state broadcaster TVP, Ombudsman Adam Bodnar said: “We must remember that many nations participated in the Holocaust”.

He added that these “included the Polish nation”, adding that the Polish Underground State issued death sentences on Poles who reported Jews in hiding to the German authorities in occupied Poland.

Over 1.1 million people, mostly European Jews, as well as non-Jewish Poles, Roma and Sinti, Soviet POWs and people of many other nationalities, perished at Auschwitz at the hands of Poland’s German occupiers during World War II.

Bodnar wrote in a statement that he “would like to apologise to all those who were offended” by his statement on TVP, adding that “there is no doubt that Germany was responsible for the Holocaust.”

“At the same time, I noted that there were Poles who participated in this terrible operation,” he said in an apparent reference to Polish citizens who reported Jews to the then German occupiers. “This is evidenced by executions performed by the [WWII-era] Home Army" of such informers, Bodnar wrote.

“On the other hand, we had so many examples of courage, sacrifice and heroism in opposing Holocaust crimes, as was the case with Jan Karski,” Bodnar added.

WWII hero Karski witnessed atrocities in the Warsaw Ghetto and met with Allied leaders including British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden and US President Franklin Roosevelt, sharing his eyewitness accounts and pleading, in vain, for a strong response.

In his statement, Bodnar added that he had fought against the use of the term “Polish death camps” – referring to German-run concentration camps such as Auschwitz – in the Western media. (rg/pk)

tags: WWII
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